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With police writing fewer tickets city’s fine revenue continues to decrease

The number of traffic citations issued by Cairo police has steadily dropped since 2010 and, as a result, the city’s revenue from traffic fines has also decreased.
Cairo city councilmen concerned with lower than budgeted revenues discussed the decrease in revenue from fines during the city council’s finance committee meeting Monday.
City officials stopped short of saying police need to be writing more citations to generate additional revenue, but at least one councilman said the city may have to postpone purchase of new police patrol cars if budgeted revenues continue to come in below projections.
“It looks like it’s going to be a tough budget year. We’ve got about $50,000 in lower fine revenues to make up, so if the revenue doesn’t come in we’ve got to reduce expenses,” finance committee chairman Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas said Monday.
City Manager Chris Addleton briefed finance committee members on his research into the drop in fine revenue.
In 2010, the city collected $372,034 in fine revenue, but by 2012 that had dropped to $257,311 and the city manager projects that for 2013 that total will be in the $225,000 range.
According to Cairo City Clerk Carolyn Lee, the number of citations issued has also dropped.
In 2010, city police officers issued 2,673 citations, 2,199 in 2011, and by 2012 that figure dropped to 1,613.
To date, Mrs. Lee said that in 2013, 1,370 citations have been issued.
In addition to fewer citations being issued, the city manager said that Police Chief Keith Sandefur said that more offenders are opting to serve time in jail to avoid paying the fine.
“A lot of folks just don’t have the money to pay the fines,” Addleton said.
City officials also say a decreased number of migrant workers in the area has resulted in fewer citations and lower fine revenue.
“It’s certainly something we need to pay attention to,” Cairo Mayor Richard VanLandingham said Monday.
The city manager said that the city would hold off purchasing new patrol cars until the end of the fiscal year to determine how much money is available for new car purchases.

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